MAULDIN, S.C., Feb. 3, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- When the New York City Department of Education prepared its first Edible Schoolyard program at a Brooklyn, NY, elementary school, it employed construction techniques and professionals that were just as innovative as the program itself to get the job done on time and within budget.
The department's use of construction techniques called job order contracting was so unique and the completed project was so well received by school administrators, educators and students, the schoolyard garden received "The Harry H. Mellon Award of Excellence in Job Order Contracting."
The Edible Schoolyard at P.S. 216 is also the first facility of its kind in the United States designed to operate year-round. The program's goal is to create and sustain an organic garden and landscape that is integrated into a school's curriculum, culture, and food program.
Launched with the help of actor and Academy Award® nominee Jake Gyllenhaal, the project transformed 28,000 square feet of school yard asphalt into a garden with ramada, storage shed, paved walkways and wrought iron fence. Construction of the $1.6 million facility spanned seven short weeks. A ramada is a structure with roof and some sides designed to offer shelter.
Plans for the first phase initially called for removing asphalt and 18 inches of soil and installing new drainage, a sprinkler system, curbing and permanent and temporary fencing. A 126-foot-long by 4-foot-deep concrete footing would support a 10-foot-high chain-link fence to separate the garden from the school's playground. Twenty-two truckloads of specially blended soil would have to be brought in from 40 miles away.
Work began with plans just 50% complete. As the garden took root, weekly status meetings helped project managers and stakeholders keep the project on schedule in the midst of changing requirements. Numerous elements like the ramada, storage shed and wrought iron fence were added even though the project's aggressive completion date remained unchanged.
Job Order Contracting proved to be the perfect solution, offering flexibility to handle the evolving plans. The construction procurement system was in place at the Department of Education and offered "on-call" contractors who were ready to work and provide competitively bid services. Contractors working with the system deliver specific construction tasks at set prices that can be added or subtracted as needed—almost like ordering from a menu.
The Edible Schoolyard program was created by Chez Panisse Foundation, Berkeley, Calif., and the concept brought to New York City by John Lyons, president of production at movie company Focus Features. As founder and board chairman of New York City's Edible Schoolyard Academy, he introduced P.S. 216's principal, Celia Kaplinsky, to the program several years ago.
"Creating P.S. 216's Edible Schoolyard in seven weeks took extraordinary efforts and a construction approach that was as flexible and innovative as the concepts behind the Edible Schoolyard," said Kaplinsky. "Our children will be able to participate in hands-on experiences and learn how healthy eating can translate into healthy living."
"The entries for the Harry H. Mellon award this year are all great examples of how Job Order Contracting can be used," said Robert Coffey, President and CEO of The Gordian Group. "The Edible Schoolyard stood out among the rest both for its innovative use of Job Order Contracting and the educational impact the project will have."
The Gordian Group's Job Order Contracting system is a competitively bid construction procurement system. It enables facility and infrastructure owners to complete large numbers of repair, alteration, maintenance and construction projects for less money and time than traditional procurement methods. Unlike traditional bidding processes, where each project is identified, designed or engineered and then put out to bid, Job Order Contracting is able to fast-track the process by establishing prices and competitively bidding prior to work requirements being identified.
About the Harry H. Mellon Award of Excellence
The Harry H. Mellon Award of Excellence in Job Order Contracting recognizes excellence in principles and practices while identifying unique and innovative ways of using Job Order Contracting to complete construction projects. Repair, alteration, and maintenance work – the core of the Job Order Contracting system – is essential for the safe and efficient use of public buildings and infrastructure. While essential, this work is often not glamorous. This award recognizes the facility owners and managers who perform this important function in an efficient and effective way.
The award is named for the inventor of Job Order Contracting, Harry H. Mellon. He devised the system in 1982, which fostered a multi-billion-dollar industry that provides facility owners with a process to complete repair, alteration, maintenance, and new-construction projects more efficiently and effectively, while saving time and money. The award was established in 2008.
About The Gordian Group
The Gordian Group, Inc. is a product and services firm that specializes in development and implementation of Job Order Contracting programs for facility and infrastructure owners. For more information, go to www.TheGordianGroup.com.
SOURCE The Gordian Group